S2 Beach Beat - Key Strong Box. Or not?

Lockboxes for surfers

If you drive around your local (surf breaks) parking lot, you’ll see more of these key lock boxes hanging off tow bars these days. You will also still see surfers stashing keys on tyres or in shocks, under fenders, at times in plain sight.

If you own a modern vehicle, you know that managing an electronic key can be tricky for surfers. 
You can’t hide it within your vehicle chasis as it will allow anyone to open a door or rear hatch. Hiding it in a nearby tree or bush is an option but risky if anyone is watching (and they do). There is nothing worse than being out in the surf worrying about your key!

Are Lockboxes really safe?

I dropped my KeySafe to Tony and Zanden Locksmiths at Mt Maunganui to have a play with. They’ve been locksmithing since 1982, so a very familiar with a range of key safe brands and units. He had a good look at it (in a controlled workbench environment).

Hacking/Breaking In

It took Tony a good 5 to 10 minutes to figure the code. Zanden would not disclose exactly how they did that, but said you really need a controlled stable environment to figure out each wheel number.

These lockboxes can be hacked and broken into, but hidden under a car chasis, or on a two bar (swinging) visible to public in uncontrolled light conditions and wind it would be quite tricky even for a locksmith.

Key Strong Box Verdict

So I think they are a reasonably safe option for vehicle safety, much safer than hiding a key under a fender, or stashing it near your car somewhere.
But be careful where you use these. These products have warnings on the packaging, so it is best to take them seriously.
The best option if you hang it off your tow bar would be a busy parking lot with plenty of public around.

Also, try and find an attach point on your vehicle chasis that is hard to reach. Underneath where a thief would need to reach out to try and work on the unit. This would be make it might harder to break into.

I’d be wary of using these at an empty beach parking lot and heading out for a 3 hour surf. Some could come along and target this type of product.
Also don’t leave gear visible through car windows, that could trigger a break-in.